New laws enhance minority representation on area juries; encourage volunteer service

Gov. Rick Snyder last week signed bills that encourage more minority representation on juries and allow retired, volunteer optometrists to serve Michigan's uninsured.

House Bill 4403, sponsored by state Rep. Shanelle Jackson, helps reverse the under-representation of minorities on juries, particularly in Wayne County. Under the bill, potential jurors cannot be disqualified from service simply because they did not return juror questionnaires. Jury boards now will be required to send questionnaires to each person on a jury list, regardless of whether that person has failed to return a questionnaire in the past.

"This new law addresses a contributing factor to the under-representation of minorities on juries," Snyder said. "A stronger, fairer judicial system benefits our entire state."

The bill now is Public Act 3 of 2012.

Snyder also signed legislation that allows retired optometrists to obtain a volunteer license, enabling them to provide eye care for uninsured or underinsured Michiganders.

Other volunteer licenses already exist for retired medical doctors, osteopathic physicians, podiatrists and dentists.

H.B. 4893, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Callton, now is P.A. 4.

Go to www.legislature.mi.gov for more information on the bills.

Published: Mon, Feb 13, 2012

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